By Jake Donovan
Antonio Tarver had the right month and state in mind for his planned comeback, though the exact date, venue and opponent have all since been firmed up for the former light heavyweight titlist.
A heavyweight bout between Tarver and Johnathon Banks is confirmed for September 29, taking place at the State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, Texas. The bout will air live on Fox Sports 1. The undercard will feature the pro debut of Tarver's son, Antonio Tarver Jr., though no official word as to whether or not that part of the card will make the televised broadcast.
"We are bringing boxing to the Rio Grande Valley," confirmed Mike Battah of Leija-Battah Promotions, the leading promoter of the Lone Star State.
Once upon a time the best light heavyweight in the world, Tarver (30-6, 21KOs) is far removed from his incredible one-punch knockout of Roy Jones in their May '04 rematch. Three separate title reigns came of his run in the mid-2000's, the last of which ended with a pair of losses to Chad Dawson.
Tarver is unbeaten in his past four bouts, though hardly a storied success at age 45 and now campaigning as a heavyweight. He returned to the ring last November after a 17-month hiatus in large part due to a suspension for testing positive for a banned substance following his 12-round draw versus Lateef Kayode in June '12. The aforementioned return also aired on Fox Sports 1, scoring a 4th round knockout of Mike Sheppard in Sunrise, Florida.
Banks (29-2-1, 19KOs) hasn't fought since a 12-round loss to Seth Mitchell in their disappointing rematch last June. The Detroit native is a disciple of the late Emanuel Steward both as a fighter and trainer, as his time is best spent these days serving as the chief second for current lineal heavyweight king Wladimir Klitschko.
Pre-sale for tickets are underway, with all tickets to officially go on sale at all Ticketmaster outlets on Friday, August 15.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox